IBM Bolsters Red Hat Support To Fend Off Sun Attack

Armonk's Systems & Technology Group is now teaming with Red Hat to sell prefunded, presales migration assessment services for customers interested in switching to Linux running on a variety of

May 17, 2005

3 Min Read
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As Sun Microsystems intensifies its attacks on Red Hat, IBM in turn is stepping up its investment in the Linux distributor to push more Solaris-to-Linux migrations on Wall Street and in Washington.

IBM said its Systems & Technology Group is now teaming with Red Hat to sell prefunded, presales migration assessment services for customers interested in switching to Linux running on IBM xSeries, BladeCenter, iSeries, pSeries, OpenPower and zSeries server platforms. The Armonk, N.Y.-based IT giant already offers a myriad of Unix-to-Linux migration services.

In addition, IBM is offering its IBM Software Factory migration services to drive Solaris-to-Red Hat Linux migrations. The fee-based Software Factory services--already available for HP UX- and Solaris-to-IBM AIX migrations--are designed to help customers migrate from Solaris C/C++ environments to Linux, as well as to migrate Oracle databases from non-IBM Windows and Unix platforms to Red Hat and Novell Suse.

Scott Handy, vice president of IBM's worldwide Linux program, said the company continues to support both Red Hat and Novell Suse. However, he noted, Big Blue is giving extra support to Red Hat because of the aggressive stand that Sun has taken against the Linux distributor. During its last two quarterly product briefings, held in New York and Washington, Sun pledged to "take back" Solaris customers on Wall Street and in the federal government that have moved to Red Hat Linux or were considering a migration from Solaris.

"Initially, we're doing it with Red Hat because Sun has been coming out with dual statements that it is not against Linux. But they are against Red Hat," Handy said. "We've decided to partner with Red Hat to help them combat this attack."Though IBM and Red Hat plan to cross-sell the migration services directly to customers, IBM said it aims to beef up marketing and support of those offerings for IBM Business Partners, including funding for free seminars about Solaris-to-Linux migrations for small and midsize businesses. Eligible partners must be xSeries resellers and participate in the IBM Partnerworld Leaders For Linux program. For partners that qualify, IBM will provide Solaris-to-Linux Seminar-In-A-Box and Solaris-to-Linux migration training, as well as Solaris-to-Linux sales kits. IBM also has pledged to extend its prefunded migration services to Business Partners and provide more skilled assistance.

Agilysys, a Solon, Ohio-based distributor, has received funding from IBM to hold seminars for Business Partners about Unix-to-Linux migrations and now plans to offer the new Solaris-to-Red Hat series in June. Only a handful--between five and 10--of the distributor's IBM Business Partners are certified as Leaders For Linux partners.

Roughly two-thirds of Agilysys' Intel-based servers still ship with Windows, but the distributor has seen increased interest in Linux, said Carolyn Ponti, business development manager at Agilysys. "These marketing dollars we get from IBM help us implement these programs so we can flip someone [to Linux]," she said. "The marketing dollars help up support our partners."

IBM said it has handled 12,000 Linux engagements, about 3,000 of which were Solaris-to-Linux migrations. A rising number of ISVs--including Cameron Systems, Feith Systems and TimesTen--also have migrated their Solaris applications to Linux, according to IBM.

George Wishart, sales director in New York for Cameron Systems, said he hasn't seen mass migrations from Solaris to Red Hat Linux but is seeing more customers interested in lowering their operating costs for Linux on Intel platforms. Cameron Systems migrated its once Solaris-exclusive Financial Information Exchange [FIX} platform to Linux and recently signed its first global Solaris-to-Linux contract with an unnamed financial services giant, he said.The tools IBM is providing to help ISVs and customers migrate to Linux are effective, Wishart added. "Many on the Street are Solaris-savvy and less so in Linux," he said.

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